We arrived to the small town of Unawatuna after a short train ride from Hikkaduwa. On the train station in Hikkaduwa, we had a chat with a Sri Lankan man who had injured his leg during the 2004 Tsunami. He told us that he considers himself a rich man because he has a happy, healthy family and all of them were saved by luck during that fateful day in 2004. That really made an impression on me.
The train arrived 20-25 minutes later than scheduled and we boarded with our 2nd class ticket when it finally arrived. The journey through the coast was interesting. It stopped in Galle, a fort city, for about 20 minutes before heading for nearby Unawatuna. We had booked places to stay everywhere in SL except Unawatuna. So, we had to first go to the center and find a place to stay/hotel. We took a tuk-tuk and asked the driver to take us to the area close to beach where all the hostels and hotels were. It was a very short tuk-tuk ride, as the town is quite small.
The first hotel the tuk-tuk driver showed us was a big hotel which was out of our budget range. We hadn’t even walked for 5 minutes out of that place, when another tuk-tuk guy offered to show us room for only 2000 LKR a night. We went with him, checked out the place, liked it and settled for 1800 LKR a night. The house was still under construction on the top floor but the room on the ground floor was nice. Actually, really nice for that kind of price. It had a brand new, modern and clean bathroom, a nice bed with mosquito net and a balcony with chairs outside. Perfect! Everything we needed. I am really strict about clean bathrooms. I probably liked the bathroom the most about the room. A family lived right next to the small house, and owned the brand new homestay (under construction). We could tell that the smiling children from the family were really curious about us.
Our room was not directly on the main street with shops, restaurants etc but a little further in. Everything was really near though. The whole street was packed with shops, restaurants and cafes all aimed at tourists. There were many tourists as well. A little further down was the beach. Just a 5 minute walk from the room. As we went to the beach, I saw that it had less palm trees than Hikkaduwa. We had to either lie down on the sun or buy foods/drinks from one of the numerous restaurants dotted along the beach line and use their sunbeds. On the first day, we just walked from one end of the beach to the other beach. It was bigger than Hikkaduwa but the waves looked bigger and water deeper and bluer.
In the afternoon we walked around the town, found a local place with authentic Sri Lankan food which was very good. It had rice, daal fry, very spicy fish curry, green bean curry, sting hoppers, papad and fried potatoes. During the whole stay in Sri Lanka, I found the Sri Lankan food to be far more spicier than Nepali food. We mostly ate at local places so we were served exactly as Sri Lankans. As in, no compromise in the amount of chilli. The person at the eatery asked me where I was from and upon hearing Nepal, he asked me if I was a Buddhist.
The ocean was warm and okay for the swim; the waves could have been milder. I didn’t mind that much. We drank some cold Lankan beers at the beach and it was a perfect choice for such a hot day by the beach. We made good use of the sun beds too. A local man offered to take us on a snorkeling tour on his boat. He was a young, jolly guy. He also greatly praised Nepal and Poland and acted as if he knew a lot about these countries. There were some locals swimming at that end of the beach where we were. There was also a Buddhist temple very close by. When it started raining heavily, we went near the counter of the restaurant and had a chat with the manager. When he found out I was Nepalese, he was interested to know the religion as well. Along with marital status, occupation and other similar questions which are considered very personal in the West.
After the rain stopped, we took a stroll. We reached a quiet, beautiful area full of palm trees and cute villas. It was a very pleasant walk as there was no hot sun and the colors were fresh and sharp after the rain. The late afternoon sun peeked some time later. We went back to the beach and spent time under the beautiful sun playing with the high waves. Some local men came up to me on the beach when I was alone and chatted. They all said that I looked like a Sri Lankan. And I indeed did, especially after the few non-stop days of sunbathing.
In the evening, we went around the town and found a local place serving popular kottu. Kottu, chopped bread mixed with spiced vegetables, chicken, eggs etc, is a very popular snack in Sri Lanka. The most interesting part was the super fast and noisy chopping of the bread. We bought some fried fish , crisps and some local Lion beers and took a pleasant walk on the beach before coming back and going to sleep.